GRAND BEND, Ontario (July 20, 2013) – It seems nothing can slow down IHRA Funny Car pilot Peter Gallen.
Not delays, not valve issues, not really much of anything, seems to be able to slow down the Broomall, Pennsylvania native as he continues to rack up win after win, record after record with nothing but clean, solid passes down the quarter-mile in the incredibly popular nostalgia Funny Car class.
And Saturday night that trend continued as Gallen, following a lengthy delay between rounds and a few motor issues, drove to his sixth win of 2013 in quite simply one of the best side-by-side drag races you will ever see all in front of a packed house at the IHRA Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals presented by Parts Canada at the Grand Bend Motorplex.
Gallen won on a holeshot with a blistering 5.810 second lap at 244.96 miles per hour in the “Poverty Stricken” 1977 Chevrolet Monza, driving around his opponent at the 300 foot mark and never looking back. In the other lane Mike Minick, driving the newly branded Omni-bodied “Chi-Town Hustler” machine, drove to a 5.789, 246.75 in the runner-up effort with only five thousandths of a second separating the pair at the line.
“What an amazing job by the entire time. We have been battling valve issues and the team really got to work in getting this car ready to go and they did one hell of a job tonight,” Gallen said. “It was a great drag race against those guys and I would be lying if I didn’t say we weren’t happy with that pass. It was a great run to cap a long evening. Hats off to those guys and to my team.”
Saturday at the Mopar Nitro Jam Nationals at the Grand Bend Motorplex
Joining Peter Gallen in the winner’s circle during Saturday’s night of fire was Ike Maier in Top Fuel, Tracy Kile in Nitro Harley, Ron Maroney in Nostalgia Fuel Altered and John Konigshofer in Pro Stock.
Sportsman winners during Day 1 of the Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour presented by AMSOIL Division 3 doubleheader were Tom Orr (Top Sportsman), Kevin Fisher (Top Dragster), Brian Clayton (Super Stock), Thomas Fletcher (Stock), Chris Scarlata (Quick Rod), Tony Elrod (Super Rod) and Rob Holden (Hot Rod).
Gallen and Minick both produced sub-five second runs each and every time to the line, with Minick’s elapsed time and speed in the final standing as the low numbers for the weekend. The pair had to wait through an extensive oildown during round one put Rick Krafft and the “Bullet Bob” team out of commission.
Ike Maier (near lane)
In Top Fuel Canadian Ike Maier finally broke through for his first career IHRA Nitro Jam win in a tremendous pass against friend and rival Bobby Lagana Jr. With header flames lit the length of the track, Maier was edged at the line but fought back on the top end producing a 4.879, 272.89 in his first win. Lagana held the lead for the first 1,000 feet, but the blower belt let go in a tremendous burst to allow Maier to get to the line first.
“What a fantastic win. We have really enjoyed our time running with the IHRA and this is really something we are very excited about,” Maier said. “Bobby and I had a great run in the final with him leading most of the way until the belt let loose. Still it was a great race and we are excited to get to race him for this win.”
In the consolation round Bruce Litton produced an impressive 4.834, 293.86 in a solo pass for low ET and top speed of the night.
Continuing with the theme of the evening Tracy Kile had a close win over Jay Turner in the Nitro Harley final as the Asheville, North Carolina native overcame a slower reaction time to run a 6.463, 213.74 in picking up the win. Turner ran a 6.632, 205.63 in the runner-up effort.
Perhaps the most impressive lap of the night came during round one of Nostalgia Fuel Altered as Gilbert, Arizona native Ron Maroney put down a national record-topping pass of 5.935 seconds at 236.13 miles per hour in the “Blind Faith” Fuel Altered, both good enough for a new record if he can back up the numbers during the weekend.
Maroney also took home the Ironman in the popular nostalgia class, nipping Ron Hope at the line as Hope crossed the center line and took out the timing blocks at the quarter-mile.
In Mountain Motor Pro Stock John Konigshofer made an impressive return to quarter-mile competition with a very fast 6.308, 222.33 lap in a win over Tony Pontieri who had to shut it off early.
Wrapping up the pro portion of the evening was round one of eliminations in the PMRA Pro Mod Invitational as top qualifiers Rocky Di Lecce and Bruce Boland advanced and will meet in round two, joining 2012 Grand Bend winner Eric Latino and two-time IHRA Pro Mod champion Kenny Lang.
In sportsman competition Canadian Tom Orr drove his ’08 Dodge Stratus to a win over Steve Corriveau in the all Canadian Top Sportsman final, joining fellow countrymen Brian Clayton in Super Stock who took down Franco Cantusci and Rob Holden who claimed the Hot Rod crown over Ryan Boniferro.
Kevin Fisher took the win in Top Dragster over Ron Biondo, Tony Elrod took the Super Rod crown over Andrew Stirk, Thomas Fletcher won in Stock over Raymond Darroch and Chris Scarlata defeated Steve Mikus in the Quick Rod final.
Nitro Jam competition will continue on Sunday with professional competition beginning at noon. Sportsman racing during Day 2 of the Summit Pro-Am Tour doubleheader will get underway at 9 a.m.